What is hunger?

Lydia Rigge, a student at Redwood Valley High School and a member of the Redwood Valley FFA Chapter, wants to help her community better understand what that really means and the impact it is having around the world.

This past October, Rigge attended an event known as the Global Youth Institute, and that event inspired her to find a way to help raise awareness in her sphere of influence to the issues surrounding food insecurity.

To that end, Rigge and the Redwood Valley FFA Chapter are hosting an event this coming Sunday (April 7) known as the Oxfam Hunger Banquet®, and she is encouraging the public to attend. The banquet is being held that day from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls, and there is no cost to attend. 

Oxfam is a global organization that is working to “end the injustice of poverty.”

According to Jaclyn Milne, a volunteer management specialist for Oxfam America, the concept of the Oxfam Hunger Banquet® began with an event in 1974 when 250,000 people participated in a fast the Thursday prior to Thanksgiving.

That initial event held to being attention to the plight of millions of people worldwide has grown into the hunger banquet.

Over the past 40-plus years, more than 850,000 people have gotten involved with the hunger banquet movement.

For Rigge, attending the Global Youth Institute this past fall was eye-opening. In order to attend that event, Rigge wrote a paper on the issues of hunger, which she focused on issues in the nation of Chad.

Rigge said she learned that hunger is not just about not having food, but that economics, education and event politics can play a part in why people face food security challenges on a daily basis.

According to a United Nations report, there are more than 815 million people around the world who are impacted by hunger, which is more people than the population of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined.

According to Rigge, people who attend the banquet arrive and are assigned a ticket that defines who they will be for the night. As a result of that they are seated and receive a meal based on their assigned income level, with those in the highest income bracket eating the best and those on the lowest end receiving very little to eat.

During the event those who attend will also learn more about the reality of food security. Rigge said she is hoping people of all ages attend the banquet April 7, and those who would like to attend are asked to RSVP by visiting the Redwood Valley FFA Facebook Page or redwoodhungerbanquet.rsvpify.com.

Global hunger is on the rise, and Rigge wanted to host this event not only to inform people but also to encourage them to take action and help people who are in need, not only in places like Chad but in their communities, as well.

– Image courtesy of Oxfam